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With expiry of lease, king’s kin seek return of AMU land

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With the land lease given to the Aligarh Muslim University having expired last year, the descendants of the Jat king, late Mahendra Pratap Singh (1886-1979), a freedom fighter and social reformer who donated land to various educational institutes, including the AMU, have demanded that the land be returned to them. The family also wants the university’s city school to be renamed after him.

The AMU executive council has set up a committee to look into the matter and submit its report.

The officials said that Mahendra Pratap Singh, who was an alumnus of the Mohammedan Anglo- Oriental College, which later became the AMU, had given 3.04 acres of land to the university on lease for constructing a school in 1929.

Singh’s great grandson, Charat Pratap Singh, said that they had served a legal notice to the university in 2018 about the expiry of lease. He said, “There were two pieces of land given by my great grandfather to the AMU for promoting education. We are donating the bigger chunk of land on which AMU’s city school is constructed and, in return, the school should be named after him.”

The former king’s family has asked for another small piece of land measuring 1.2 hectare to be returned to them. “They can return the land or compensate us at the current market price of the land,” Charat said.

In 2014, a controversy had erupted, when BJP MP Satish Gautam had asked the AMU to celebrate the 128th birth anniversary of the king on 1 December.

King Mahendra Pratap Singh’s great grandson, Charat Pratap Singh, said that they had served a legal notice to the university in 2018 about the expiry of lease.

The BJP had organised a small programme at its office in Aligarh and had got an assurance from the then vice-chancellor to hold a seminar on Singh later.

Last year, the state cabinet had cleared a proposal to set up a new university in Aligarh, named after King Mahendra Pratap Singh.

“He had given land for the purpose of establishing the university, but his name has not been mentioned on any plaque,” Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had said during his election campaign in 2017 while promising to set up another university in Singh’s name.

Mahendra Pratap Singh, who set up a provisional government in exile in Afghanistan during World War I, was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1932. He was also elected to the second Lok Sabha (1957-62) as an independent candidate from Mathura defeating Bharatiya Jan Sangh’s Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who later became the Prime Minister.

With IANS inputs

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Hold Punjab, Haryana Chief ministers liable for stubble burning: AAP

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Senior Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Atishi Marlena said on Monday that the Environment Committee of the Delhi Assembly, of which she is the chairperson, met the Air Quality Commission and demanded strict action against Punjab and Haryana governments for burning stubble.

She said the commission has been requested to fix the accountability of the Chief Ministers of Punjab and Haryana on the issue of burning stubble and take strict action against them by filing a case.

The AAP leader said the commission has also been requested to order the governments of Punjab and Haryana to resolve the stubble burning issue with bio-decomposer technology.

She said, “We presented the commission with two major agendas. The first is to give orders to the governments of Punjab and Haryana to implement the bio-decomposer developed by the Pusa Research Institute in cooperation with Delhi government with immediate effect. This is an effective as well as an efficient alternative to this problem. Secondly, we have also requested the commission to take stringent action against the Chief Ministers of Punjab and Haryana as they have failed to curb stubble burning. The Air Quality Commission has the power to take legal actions and can order jail term to anyone causing pollution.”

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RJD will hit the streets if NDA doesn’t meet 19L job promise, says Tejashwi

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RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav

Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Tejashwi Yadav said in Patna on Monday that his party would hit the streets if the NDA doesn’t meet its poll promise of providing 19 lakh jobs in the next one month.

Tejashwi, reached the Bihar Assembly on day one to take oath as an MLA along with his elder brother Tej Pratap Yadav.

“The Assembly election was fought on the issues of unemployment and corruption. We had promised to provide 10 lakh jobs in the first cabinet meeting. The NDA, in the joint Sankalp Patra, also claimed to provide 19 lakh jobs. Now, they have formed the government in Bihar through conspiracy. As real representatives of people of Bihar, we will not let them go scot-free without implementing their poll promise,” said Tejashwi.

“In the last 15 years, Nitish Kumar has turned into the Bhishma Pitamah of corruption. Around a dozen of his cabinet ministers are either involved in corruption or facing criminal charges. As many as 60 scams took place during his government in last 15 years,” alleged Tejashwi.

“These scams are investigated by many IPS and IAS officers and some of them have written letters to the authorities for proper investigation,” said Tejashwi, alluding to letters written by Amitabh Kumar Das, a retired IPS officer, who has written letters against Mewalal Choudhary and Manju Verma.

“The selection of ministers is the only decision of Chief Minister. Didn’t he know the criminal charges on tainted Mewalal Choudhary? He has been an absconder in the past. The governor of Bihar had sacked him from the post of Bihar Agriculture University Vice chancellor. Still Nitish Kumar gave the important education ministry to him. Now, Nitish Kumar has given the education ministry to Ashok Chaudhary whose wife is involved in multi-crore scam. The CBI had registered a case against her and matter in pending in Supreme Court,” Tejashwi said.

“Over the last few years, Nitish Kumar used to claim that elections were fought on his face. The people of Bihar rejected him in the 2020 assembly election. That’s why his party came at third position. Despite being at third position, he has become CM. They conspired against the RJD in this election, still it became the single-largest party in the assembly with 75 seats and 23.5 percent to votes,” added Tejashwi.

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Former Assam CM Tarun Gogoi shows some improvement but still critical

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The health of former Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi has slightly improved after deteriorating on Saturday, the Superintendent of Gauhati Medical College and Hospital, where he is admitted, said on Sunday. His condition, however, is still critical.

“Last evening former Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi’s health deteriorated so we intubated him, he was critical yesterday. His AGB (arterial blood gas) test and parameters are slightly better today,” hospital Superintendent Dr Abhijit Sarma told ANI here.

Gogoi’s heath had deteriorated on Saturday. He was “critical” and on ventilator support following post-Covid complications. There were also reports that Gogoi is suffering from multi-organ failure.’

The 86-year-old Congress leader had become “completely unconscious” on Saturday afternoon after difficulty in breathing, Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said. He also suffered multiple organ failure, the minister confirmed.

Since Saturday, Gogoi has been on mechanical life support at the Gauhati Medical College and Hospital, where a team of doctors is monitoring his health and efforts are being made to revive his organs with medicines and dialysis.

The GMCH doctors are in constant touch with experts from Delhi’s premier All India Institute of Medical Sciences who have ruled out the possibility of shifting Gogoi outside the state in this condition.

Tarun Gogoi’s son, Congress leader and MP Gaurav Gogoi, is at the hospital.

The three-time former Assam CM had tested positive for Covid-19 in August. On 26 October, he had thanked the medical team at Guwahati Medical College and Hospital including the specialists, doctors, nurses, staff, for their “excellent care for the past two months” and had said that he looked forward to continuing his recovery at home under medical supervision.

With agency inputs

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Bharti Singh, her husband sent to judicial custody till 4 December

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On Sunday, a court in Mumbai sent comedian Bharti Singh and her husband Haarsh Limbachiyaa to judicial custody till 4 December. The two were arrested by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) in connection with the alleged consumption of cannabis.

Before producing the couple in the court, the NCB took them to the hospital for medical examination.

Bharti Singh was held on Saturday while Haarsh Limbachiyaa was arrested a day later on Sunday.

“Charges of consumption of drugs have been invoked against them,” said Sameer Wankhede, Zonal Director of the NCB, Mumbai.

NCB on Saturday raided the production office and house of comedian Bharti Singh and recovered 86.5 grams of ganja (cannabis) from both places.

The NCB had earlier raided a place in Khar Danda area and nabbed a trafficker aged 21 years with various drugs including 15 blots of LSD (commercial quantity), ganja (40 grams), and Nitrazepam (psychotropic medicines). In follow up and in corroboration with previous inputs, the NCB raided the production office and house of comedian Bharti Singh.

This comes as the probe, which began from the drug case in connection with the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput, continues to expand to the alleged drug abuse by Bollywood celebrities.

Recently, a raid was also conducted at the residence of actor Arjun Rampal, after which he and his girlfriend were summoned by the NCB for questioning in the matter.

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With rise in respiratory diseases, Covid-hit Delhi in a health soup

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Amid the massive spike in Covid-19 cases in the national capital, Delhi-NCR has another cause for big concern: Deadly smog and its health implications. With pollution seeing a big rise with the first hint of winter in the sight, health experts on Sunday said they have seen a substantial increase in patients with respiratory disorders in the Delhi-NCR region.

Air pollution is an important cause of worsening of respiratory disorders, including sinusitis, allergic rhinitis, bronchitis and respiratory difficulty in those patients who do not smoke or have pre-asthmatic conditions.

According to experts, air pollution also plays a significant role in making Covid infections worse. Dr Praveen Gupta, Director and Head, Neurology, Fortis Hospital in Gurugram told IANS: “Pollution has been identified as a leading cause of stroke and heart disease increasing the risk by 25 per cent in people who do not have risk factors for stroke or any heart ailment.”

“Exposure to high levels of air pollutants may cause irritation to the eyes, nose and throat, wheezing, coughing, breathing problems. Air pollution can also affect existing lung and heart conditions,” he added.

Smog can cause irritation in the eyes, throat and can damage the lungs, can also lead to fatigue, migraine, headaches, anxiety and depression.

“It can also worsen the skin, cause allergic disorders as well as significant hair problems,” Gupta added.

He has observed a 25 per cent increase in patients with respiratory disorders in the OPD in past weeks.

Dr. Puneet Khanna, HOD and consultant-Respiratory Medicine, HCMCT Manipal Hospitals in Delhi said that as the winter approaches, smog is exacerbated by low temperature and slow movement of air.

“Ground-level ozone O3 and PM2.5 play a significant role in the formation of smog. Besides industrial activities and public transportation, stubble burning and road dust are majorly responsible for smog in winters,” Khanna informed.

The vulnerable group include newborns and children, pregnant women, elderly and those with pre-existing health conditions such as asthma, chronic bronchitis, diabetics, angina and cardiac diseases.

Peaks in air pollution often irritate the upper and lower respiratory system making it harder to breathe besides aggravating symptoms of asthma and COPD.

According to Dr. Khanna, even a small increase in air pollution leads to heavy rush in OPDs, increased emergency room visits, hospitalisations and deaths. Long-term risks include lung cancer and reduction in life expectancy.

“During smog periods, these people should avoid intense physical activity outdoors particularly in morning and evening hours. They should venture out if absolutely essential and preferably wear an N95 mask during peak hours,” he said.

Dr. Navneet Sood, Pulmonary Consultant, Dharamshila Narayana Superspeciality Hospital said that “the apparent effect of air amid Covid pandemic is creating more problems for people living in Delhi-NCR”.

“A comprehensive approach is needed to deal with the problem. Wear a mask whenever stepping out of the house, avoid going out early morning and late evening, follow every precaution related to Covid-19,” Sood advised.

With IANS inputs

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Moderna may cost up to Rs 2,700 per dose, Sputnik V to be much less

Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel says that governments willing to purchase Covid-19 vaccine may have to shell out Rs 1,854 and Rs 2,744 per dose—depending on the size of the order.

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Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel has said that governments seeking to purchase Moderna’s potential Covid-19 vaccine may have to shell out $25 and $37 per dose—which amounts to Rs 1,854 and Rs 2,744—depending on the size of the order. Bancel said that this would be a “fair price” and that the company was not interested in “maximum profit”.

However, on Sunday, the official Twitter handle for Russia’s Sputnik V tweeted that their vaccine will cost governments much less than that of Pfizer’s (estimated at Rs 1,446) and Moderna’s.

“Translating pharma lingo: the announced price of Pfizer of $19.50 and Moderna of $25-$37 per dose actually means their price of $39 and $50-$74 per person. Two doses are required per person for the Pfizer, Sputnik V and Moderna vaccines. The price of Sputnik V will be much lower,” said the tweet.

According to a spokesman for the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), RDIF is Russia’s sovereign wealth fund, the price of the Russian vaccine will be made public next week, TASS news agency reported.

Sputnik V is the world’s first registered vaccine against the Covid019 pandemic. It was developed by the Gamaleya National Research Centre for Epidemiology and Microbiology of the Russian Health Ministry. However, it was officially registered and given regulatory approval by the Russian government ahead of large-scale clinical trials.

According to the Russian Health Ministry, these vaccines have proved their ability to form lasting immunity for a period of up to two years.

The third, post-registration, stage of clinical tests for the vaccine had begun on August 25 and the first batch of the vaccine was dispatched to Russian regions on September 12, said the TASS report.

Meanwhile, US pharma giant Moderna said last week that its vaccine has shown more than 94.5 per cent effectiveness in preliminary data from the company’s ongoing study. Before Moderna, Pfizer and BioNTech had said that their vaccine candidate was found to be more than 90 per cent effective in preventing Covid-19.

Moderna is expecting to produce approximately 20 million doses of its mRNA-1273 vaccine by the end of 2020. The company said it remains on track to manufacture 500 million to 1 billion doses globally in 2021.

The Moderna CEO also said that his company was engaged in negotiations with the EU Commission for the delivery of its vaccine against Covid-19, adding that talks have been “constructive”, and that it was “only a matter of days” before the contract is signed.

On the other hand, Pfizer said on Friday that it was moving ahead with its request of asking the US regulators to grant emergency approval of its Covid-19 vaccine candidate.

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